The BJP has shifted its newly elected councillors out Madhya Pradesh ahead of tomorrow’s election for the chairperson of the civic body’s council, apprehensive that the Congress will induce them to cross-vote for its candidate. The councillors have been shifted to a resort in Haryana in what is perhaps the first example of resort politics percolating to the level of local body polls. They will return to Gwalior tomorrow ahead of the voting, sources said.
In last month’s municipal polls in Gwalior — home turf of Union ministers Jyotiraditya Scindia and Narendra Singh Tomar, and state home minister Narottam Mishra — the Congress won mayor’s post after 57 years.
But the overall majority in the 66 municipal wards went to the BJP. The party won a simple majority of 34 wards, the Congress came second with 25 wards. Six Independents and one BSP councillor also won.
The crucial mayoral seat went to Shobha Sikharwar of the Congress.
Ms Sikharwar is the wife of Congress MLA Satish Sikarwar, who quit the BJP ahead of the by-election in November 2020, upset over Mr Scindia’s entry into the party.
Mr Scindia’s induction has appeared created a rift in the BJP — there are reports of tussle between Home Minister Narottam Mishra and Imarti Devi, who is part of the Scindia camp.
Currently Imarti Devi is in Delhi with 15 corporators — six from the BJP, six from the Congress, two Independents and one from AAP.
“Nothing much should be read politically into the BJP corporators’ bus journey,” state BJP chief VD Sharma told NDTV.
“After winning the polls, they are going to meet senior BJP leaders, including Mr Scindia and Narendra Tomar in Delhi and get their blessings for the future. Nothing more should be read into it,” he added.
Congress’s KK Mishra, chairman of the party’s state media cell, appeared delighted with the situation in the BJP camp.
“The BJP is making a mockery of the election process. In Gwalior, they are scared that their own councillors will not vote for them. There is no consensus among their top leaders. We are confident we will win the elections,” he said.
The new mayors of the three key municipal corporations – Indore, Bhopal and Jabalpur — will take oath on August 5, 6 and 7. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is expected to attend the oath ceremony in Bhopal-Indore. Former Chief Minister Kamal Nath will be in Jabalpur.